Entering the Blog-o-sphere!

By     Jun 19, 2015
Executive Director, Crossroads Carnegie Art Center

Ginger Savage

As I sit in a darkened theatre watching a team of Missoula Children’s Theatre actors work with the youth of my small rural community in a production of “Aladdin.” I have just glanced through the information of some of the amazing projects to be completed in this NAS Creative Community Fellows projects.

I feel a little unworthy.

I feel a lot overwhelmed.

I am working at the high school for this week long camp, getting farther behind every day.  I am planning four major events at this moment, oversight of a capital feasibility study and then my fellowship!  What is making me feel so overwhelmed is that many of my steps I will outline would best be done in September and October but as that is fundraising season for the art center. So I have to gather these convening groups in the summer!  UGH!

So let me just get started on my project!  I hope that’s ok with the powers that be!?

So I am going to use my blog as my glorified list and planning platform so I can kill a couple of birds at one time.

Placemaking and Wayfinding in Baker City with a use of Public Art

Step 1:  Convene a small group of community leaders to identify who needs to be gathered for the wayfinding discussion.  This will include ODOT, Baker County and Baker City so that I can get an understanding of governing laws and policies-July

Step 2:  Organize an agenda for placemaking community outreach.  Define the questions I need to get answered, gather the materials, and get the maps ready.  Do a press release, contact organizations to meet with and set a schedule. July and August

-Service Groups

-Senior Citizen Luncheon

-Baker County Livestock Association

-Historic Baker City Stakeholders

-10th Street Stakeholders

-Broadway St Stakeholders

-Campbell St. Stakeholders

-Historical Society

-Governmental Stakeholders

-Pastoral Association

-Chamber of Commerce

-Travel Stakeholders/TRTC

-3 general public gatherings (different locations-Art Center, Fair Ground, OTECC)

Goal to talk with 500 people.

Questions to be answered at each convening:

Talk to each group of the concept of placemaking and wayfinding and how the intersect on occasion.

What are the over arching themes or messages that define who and what Baker City is?

What are the specific stories, people, experiences, etc under those themes?

What will be the best way to capture those stories so they are not lost?

Prioritize those themes and stories?  What is the most important stories of Baker City that should be told first through a public art process?

What types of Public Art does Baker City want?

How do they envision it being funded?

Identified where in Baker City we should tell our stories?  Map them.

Expectations:  After the first three or four groups this process will get easier as the clear themes have been identified giving more time for getting to the community stories that need to be uncovered.  I think I will start with groups who understand place-making first to help with the process.

Outcomes:  a comprehensive spreadsheet of the themes, specific stories under each theme with a best person or way to capture that story.  Listing of most favored types of public art by the community and a map with very specific locations of where the community feels are the best places to tell our stories.

Empower each group to think of Baker City in its truly authentic reality.

Once I have the placemaking piece in place…when we have identified who we are and how we want to portray ourselves.  I need to quickly convening the wayfinding group in a large one day event.

Tentative Agenda:

Review the placemaking outcomes and have large maps available where community members felt our stories should be told with art.

Have Photo shots of all the major entry points to the community.  Photos of the existing signage in context.  Look at examples of non-traditional signage.

Group Work session to identify the critical needs that need to have signage in Baker City.  Each group tackling a different viewpoint:  the tourist on foot or bike, the tourist in a car or cycle, those guests coming to a sporting event, the new resident, and the long time resident.  Then bring those signage needs onto a master plan taking some time to reconcile differences or overlaps.

Group discussion of the outcomes—do we have intersections (currently or in the new plan) that are just too busy with signage?  Where are the opportunities to create directional signage without a big old sign?

Identify each section of the community and who the partners are.

Group Discussion relating back to placemaking outcomes:  what will Baker City’s new signage look like?  What should it have to best tell our story?  Color, Font, Size????

Not all this signage can be done right now…let’s prioritize the needs of signage and create a timeline.

Which group can move these projects to the top of the list?  What is the low-hanging fruit?


I think that is the best place to start…I hope I can get it done in the time frame and from these community meetings we can identify a project that can be done for the fellowship.

Okay…so I still feeling overwhelmed

G. Savage

Crossroads Carnegie Art Center

Baker City, OR